Friday, September 21, 2012

Creaking Antient Thing

What a strange year this has been, overflowing with unsuspected things.  It began in misery, frustration and defeat.  I hate having heart disease, and I tend to ignore that fact of my physical makeup until I am forced to face it.  There is nothing more boring than being an invalid.  I hunger for life.  The best part of being alive these days is creative vitality--my gawd, so sweet.  Thus, at the end of last year and the beginning of this year I felt depleted of energy; and because I am, in old age, a drama queen, I moaned that this would be a year of little activity.  A huge portion of my misery was from the insane activity I had just passed through, the completion of a number of books.  Now, when I began to write, one's fiction was published in small press magazines, most of which had a circulation of 200, seldom more than five-hundred copies per issue.  The idea of having books of my own was unthinkable; and when those books finally became a reality they were compilations of older work from different decades, all thrown together.  It wasn't until I wrote The Fungal Stain and other Dreams that I built a book, carefully deciding what tales it would contain, then writing new tales that would help to complete a planned structure. 

The constructing of a book became a huge allure--I love it.  The Tangled Muse was my last "hodgepodge" collection, as it had to be because of its nature as an omnibus of what I then considered my finest work.  The first book I wrote of all original short was Encounters with Enoch Coffin, written in collaboration with Jeffrey Thomas--he wrote six of the stories and I wrote another six.  My most exhilarating writing experience came when I was inspired to create Some Unknown Gulf of Night.  That was a six-week journey of intense creativity, wherein I hated having to stop to eat or sleep.  So, coming off the high of seeing new books created and published, the aspect of 2012 being a year of non-creativity due to wonky health was a nightmare that I had convinced myself I had to endure.  I couldn't think like a writer--I could not find that passionate project that so excited me I could not rest until it reached completion.  The idea of not having a book out in 2013 so depressed me that I begged Dark Regions Press to wait and bring out the Enoch Coffin book early next year, not at the end of this year as was originally planned.  I mean--thirteen is my favourite number--I had to have a book dated 2013

And then came the announcement of NecronomiCon Providence 2013.  Oh, darlings, I trembled to the core of my being.  The idea of a Lovecraft convention in Providence had been one of my main fantasies.  It became a keener ache during my four days in Providence in October of 2007.  That city has a special magick that only a devoted Lovecraftian can feel.  All of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with creative ache:  I had to write a new book that would celebrate NecronomiCon.  I wrote that book over the summer months.  And then Fungi magazine asked for an 11,000 word novelette for a special issue they were doing for NecronomiCon.  Almost instantly, I penned my 11,300 word Sesqua Valley version of Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear."

And now, this month, it's all stopped.  I cannot explain it, except to say that I think it's tied to the increase of physical demands of being my mother's caregiver.  She can neither stand nor walk on her own, and thus she is "dead weight," and trying to lift her out of bed and into her wheelchair, or taking her to the bathroom, has become a gnarly and exhausting job.  I have completely lost my energy, and have spent most of the past two weeks in bed.  This is extremely frustrating because, mentally, I have gobs of energy for writing my next two books, Monstrous Aftermath and Songs for the Comte D'erlette.  The ache, the need, the wanting to write, is there intensely; but the energy has suddenly been sapped.  It makes me feel so unprofessional, to have such little mental discipline.  Yet I realise that this inability is tied to my boring health problems.  It sucks.  I always expect this to happen, which is the reason that when I get the energy for work I write like a lunatic, never stopping, letting it pour out like a geyser. I know the ability to work will return--but it's frustrating having to wait, and having no clue when the ability, the energy, will percolate once more.  I hate being an invalid!  I want life!  And yet, if the ability to work does not return this year, I can still find a sense of calm, a peace of mind, in knowing that I have had a really productive year.  I have many little things forthcoming in soon-to-be-published anthologies. 



  1. Well I guess the thing to do (without being too nosy and without expecting an answer) is to assess what additional services may be available for your mother. Do you have a social worker? Often for the elderly are eligible for in home help from Medicare, because it is less expensive that nursing home care. Maybe she could qualify from some in home nursing aid time. Does she have any insurance with riders for chronic or elderly care?

    My experience is that a respite for the primary caregiver does everyone in the home a world of good. If you yourself are exhausted, any rest will help your health too. It's only natural to want to do everything for your own mother, but maybe that isn't realistic for your own health.

    1. The physical strain is the main reason we will eventually have to find a home for mom. We have two strong and healthy gayboys living in our basement and they have been wonderful in helping to get mother out of bed and taking her to the bathroom. One of them is leaving and so I'll have to do more lifting. Mom is dead weight because she cannot use her legs, and it puts a real strain on my heart. I can live with the dementia and have proven to myself that I can produce books in spite of it; but the physical tasks trigger my own health complications with congestive heart failure and asthma. The combined effect of the physical and mental strain, the exhaustion and depression, has now made it impossible for me to concentrate on writing. Even reading is a chore. I spend great portions of my day gasping and groaning in bed. I hate that. I want life. I want to work, work, work and produce the books that are screaming inside my brain. There are SO MANY BOOKS I have yet to write, I can't waste my time being a freaking invalid. But at ye moment I simply have no choice--I am depleted of energy.